Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our next guest blogger is Laura Lopez, Regis Math Curriculum Specialist, who writes about the math program at Regis.
At Regis, we are continually working on creating an environment that best supports our diverse group of learners—focusing on student-centered learning and best practices that extend and enrich our current offerings. You can compare the construction of Regis' math program to the building of a new house—we start by creating a sound foundation, then add rooms that are interconnected and function well together. The math team has been busy blending curriculum that is rooted in mathematical language formation and the evolving study of patterns, quantity and real-world problem-solving. Centering on the unique cognitive development at each stage of learning, we aim to balance research based best practices to develop the competency and confidence in our young scholars.
Our recent additions of a calendar system—Number Corner to Early Childhood and Lower School and Big Ideas curriculum to the Middle School—has been instrumental in creating a focused and coherent math program that balances procedural and conceptual knowledge. These programs have assisted us in highlighting the progression of skill development across grade levels.
As we continue to place emphasis on building content knowledge and 21st century skills to ensure that the boys are prepared for the rigor of High School, the math team has been exploring teaching methods and strategies that encourage discourse and develop students as critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators and collaborators. In supporting the confidence and competence of each student by encouraging risk taking, various representations of mathematical modeling, and building overall resilient mathematical thinking, we are setting the stage for success across the curriculum.
Some of the methods that have been at the forefront of our learning this year are the creation of individualized curriculum and challenges for students at their level, which results in their constant search for learning and growing within themselves. A blend of direct instruction, group discussion, small group work, online formats, and student work-time allow for plenty of student discussion to connect their learning to real-world situations.
Lower School students have been working with Dream Box and IXL, both online tools that offer additional support for students to make mathematical gains. The real-time insight offers our instructors a snapshot of the students learning and informs their planning of future classroom instruction.
As we move away from the "sit and get" instruction, we are focused on implementing hands-on instruction that includes manipulatives such as Rekenrecks, counting blocks, GeoSolids, Algebra tiles, and Base Ten Blocks—creating a fluid and collaborative learner-driven experience.
As we continue to add programs and methods that strengthen rigor and center around engaging design, we will be continually setting our young scholars up for future success.
Bio: This is Laura's 2nd year at The Regis School. Prior to her role as the Math Curriculum Specialist, Laura served as the Lower School Math Lead at Saint Francis Episcopal School. Laura comes to us with over 17 years of experience in grades K-8th. She holds a Bachelor's of Science from St. Xavier University and Masters in Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago. Laura has extensive training and experience with several math programs, including Singapore Math, Bridges, Everyday Mathematics, Math in Focus, and Envision 2.0. Her Texas Certifications include Generalist EC-4, Generalist 4-8, and Mathematics 4-8. During the 2017-2018 school year, she successfully completed the Rice Excellence in Mathematics Instruction certification and is currently working on her Doctorate in Professional Leadership-Mathematics at the University of Houston.